Welcome to the Good Life!
I’m a lifelong Nebraskan. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska 22 years ago, and although I was swept away to the East Coast for school and sustainable farming opportunities in the past few years, my heart still bleeds bright Cornhusker red. I’ve been in love with my home state for as long as I can remember (in love enough to recently get the outline of my Midwestern home state tattooed on my back…yeah…I’m not kidding!)
In the summer of 2010, a few friends and I started the organization Guardians of the Good Life (GOTGL), a home-grown, grassroots group of activists and clean energy economy radicals in the urban center of Nebraska, Omaha. An eclectic group of people, GOTGL, admittedly a cheesy name for such a fantastic organization ( “the Good Life” being Nebraska’s unofficial state motto), is made up of urban eco-activists of all walks of life. Formed under the core beliefs that urban Nebraskans have a vested interest in protecting our state from the dangerous Keystone XL Pipeline, Guardians of the Good Life has continuously kicked out creative and engaging campaigns to stop the tar sands from ever entering out state…and for that matter, ever leaving their dirty home in Alberta.
Sadly, not living in Nebraska anymore, I have not been able to participate in the Guardians activities since last summer. However, as a large group of Nebraskans were arrested today in front of the White House today and as I prepare to risk arrest next week, I felt it necessary to write about the activities and interests of urban Nebraskans fighting the pipeline. Last August, the Guardians hosted a Week of Action against the pipeline, including educational lectures, street demonstrations, a “tar sands lemonade stand” tasting, and culminating in a 100 person “Human Oil Spill” flash mob and banner drop over Omaha’s most busy thoroughfare during rush hour. Since the week of action last August, GOTGL have hosted bi-weekly roadside demonstrations, hosted benefit concerts and parties against the Pipeline, an aggressive public advertising campaign and anonymous members recently installed a large scale anti-pipeline public art piece illustrating the potentially disastrous effects of the pipeline on Nebraska’s people, environment and economy. An entirely citizen driven effort, the Guardians have partnered with groups like Bold Nebraska, the Nebraska Wildlife Federation, and the Nebrasksa Farmers Union to educate and empower Nebraska citizens from both rural and urban communities to resist this incredible threat to our state.
The pipeline, which stretches from the Alberta all the way to Texas threatens every state along its winding path. But Nebraska has quite a lot to lose from this pipeline being approved. Seriously, Nebraska’s farmers (including some of my own family who run the family farm I hope to take over when I’m older), ranchers and the general population have A LOT to lose from what will, if this population is approved, ultimately destroy the precious Nebraska Sand Hills, the largest water source for farmers and 82 % of drinking water for those who live over its boundaries, the Ogallala Aquifer.
The Keystone XL pipeline is not a threat anyone, from Alberta to Nebraska all the way to Texas, can ignore any longer. My state’s livelihood is at risk, as fellow Nebraskan Ben Gotschall recently illustrated in his blog post here. We are facing gargantuan opposition, which obviously calls for an equally gargantuan response from we the people. That’s why I’ll be in Washington D.C. next week to represent all those from my home state who could not make it out to our nations capitol to express their anger about the Keystone XL Pipeline, rage about the current administrations incredibly frustrating inaction and to put forth their collective vision for a clean, tar sands free Nebraska.
See you in D.C.!